21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (2023)

A look at the most legendary fashion trends of the 80s

The fashion of the 80s occupies a unique place in the world of fashion, trends and styles.

In a world without the internet and social media, fashion in the 1980s took inspiration from music and television shows, creating more style icons than in any previous decade.

"Big," "Bright," and "Tall" describe the '80s fashion decade with bold colors and patterns, power suits, shoulder pads, dramatic earrings, and acid-wash denim.

In this article, I'll take you back in time to relive the best moments of 80's fashion and style.

In short, these are them21 most representative and inspiring fashion of the 80sPhotos, images and moments of all time.

powerful suits

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (1)

Power suits or "power clothes" were all the rage in the 1980s.

The trend was started by celebrities and movie stars playing influential and power-hungry career women.

Grace Jones' tailored suits, with broad, padded shoulders, inspired the 'girl power' and cross-dressing movements of the 1980s - an inspiration for artists like Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Solange and Lorde.

In a sign of women rising through the ranks, Britain was ruled by Margaret Thatcher, the country's first female Prime Minister.

Dresses with padded shoulders

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (2)

Shoulder pads were such an influential trend in '80s fashion thatStylistseven adopted her.

Bold shoulder pads paired with flowing dresses with puff sleeves to create unique geometric shapes and cuts.

leg warmers

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (3)

The fashion styles of the 80's were influenced by stars and celebrities of the time promoting fitness and aerobics on television.

Performances by Olivia Newton-John and Jane Fonda (Flashdance in particular) made leggings every woman's fashion statement.

aerobics clothing,Fitness-Leggings, big sweaters and evenSkinny jeans for womenthey were all garments that needed spats as a finishing touch.

Leather jackets with rolled up sleeves

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (4)

Worn by music and movie stars like Bon Jovi, Madonna, Cher, Tom Cruise (Top Gun) and Morten Harket, leather jackets were a must in the 80s.

However,the most popular leather jacket styles of the 80sit had broad, padded shoulders and was worn with the sleeves rolled up, and Michael Jackson's Thriller look is the perfect example.

Other popular leather jacket styles of the 1980s were the Double Rider and Café Racer jackets, with the option to customize them to your liking.

80s preppy fashion

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (5)

The 80s was also the decade of designers who focused on comfortable and stylish preppy styles.

Brands like Polo, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein released college-style jackets, trousers and shirts in pastel shades with stripes.

Seen as a critical trend of the 1980s, formal shirts (also seen in 'light gym') were used as a formal button or acasually more elegantT-Shirt.

Statement-T-Shirts und Slogan-T-Shirts

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (6)

Statement tees, also known as slogan tees, are another defining moment in '80s fashion, as Katharine Hamnett's pieces beautifully illustrate.

The designer's anti-missile T-shirt, worn to a meeting with then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984, is now part of 1980s fashion history.

The trend of slogans printed on t-shirts was quickly adopted by Pepsi, Nike, Adidas and Guess after realizing the promotional power of their own logos printed on t-shirts.

(Video) Top 10 Decade Defining Fashion Trends Of The 1980s

1980s mini skirts

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (7)

The '80s is also the decade of miniskirts, skater skirts and rah-rahs.

Miniskirts were first seen in theFashion in the 60s, usually combined with go-go boots.

But miniskirt trends peaked in the 1980s, worn with spats and/or leggings.

Popular materials were denim and elastane (see Kylie Minogue's high-shine mini dresses) or complemented with layers of mesh and lace in the Madonna style.


21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (8)

popular in40s fashion(and later50er Mode), polka dot dresses, skirts and tops reappeared in full force in the '80s.

The style was brought back by French fashion house Emanuel Ungaro in their SS 1985 ready-to-wear collection, which was quickly embraced by royalty, pop stars and movie stars alike.

Princess Diana loved polka dot track skirts; Pop duo Strawberry Switchblade wore her in big PVC belts and Claudia Cardinale in her signature tie-neck dresses.

Animal prints from the 80s

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (9)

Natural animal skins were already being used in the 1980s.

However, that hasn't stopped celebrities from sporting over-the-top animal prints with every imaginable outfit and style.

From leggings to bags, skirts and sunglasses, bold leopard, zebra, tiger, giraffe and python prints were all the rage.

Large glasses from the 80s

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (10)

Most fashionable sunglasses in the 1980s had oversized frames and tinted or mirrored lenses.

Some of the most popular sunglass frames of the 80's were Rayban's oversized wayfarers and aviators.

However, depending on your social circle, you can discover Gucci, Cartier and Vuarnet on a large scale.

Asymmetrical silhouettes in the 1980s

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (11)

Thierry Mugler's spring 1983 ready-to-wear show is the prime example of clothes where one side is not the other.

The asymmetrical style was best exemplified by Molly Ringwald, a famous Hollywood actress of the 1980s.

Key features of the asymmetrical style and design include a one-shoulder bodice, slanted hems or plunging necklines that are often seen in today's fashion.streetwear piecesvonJapanese fashion.

Collants and bodies

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (12)

After the influence of drugs and the freedom of "flower power".Mode der 70erover, the 80s began as a confident decade.

Jane Fonda capitalized on women's obsession with dance and movement with fitness videos that featured an extensive collection of colorful jumpsuits.

With the help of musical divas like Cher, promoting and selling brightly colored sportswear became an '80s thing.

What we call athleisure today began with tights and bodysuits, a functional fashion.


21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (13)

The double-denim style craze of the '80s is the ultimate example of celebrity power modeling, and it's still going strongcurrent fashion trends.

Levi's 501 Jeans campaign involved top celebrities of the time such as Nick Kamen, who had a Top 5 hit single in 1986 written and produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray.

The trend of pairing double denim jackets with high-waisted jeans continued into the late 1980s, thanks to Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Ben E. King, and Percy Sledge boosting Levi's and vinyl sales.

(Video) Top 6 80’s Fashion Trends and Style for Women. Best Clothing and Trends for Women from the 1980s

Thick socks with high heels

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (14)

In a trend started by fitness celebrities making their way from the gyms to the '80s runways, chunky tights, layered stockings, and even lace-trimmed stockings were an '80s fashion statement for girls.

Neon socks worn over another pair and paired with sneakers have found success in multiple contexts, at the gym, hanging out with friends, and even in the office.

And with the popularization of the idea of ​​wearing socks everywhere, heeled socks began to appear, from movie clips on MTV to movies and catwalks.

Sheer tights

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (15)

In the '80s it was really cool to wear short skirts to show off your legs - check out Debbie Harry's chic little black dresses with statement stockings.

Initially, sheer tights came in neutral colors - like brown during the day and black at night for a more natural look.

Influenced by the growing fitness craze, see-through tights became all the rage for many by the mid-1980sfashion brandsCreating colorful socks.

The trend towards colored transparent socks continuedFashion in the 90s, used in the office and even at dinner parties.

80's style pants and leggings

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (16)

Stirrups are lightweight metal frames suspended from each side of a saddle, used for mounting or riding.

The stirrup pants lend themselves to the concept by having a strip of material on the forefoot to keep the pants in place.

Due to their construction, stirrup pants were all the rage in sports activities such as aerobics, ballet and dancing in the 1980s and eventually permeated everyday fashion looks.

In the late 1980s, women of all ages wore leggings and stirrups paired with oversized T-shirts or comfy oversized sweaters.

Decorative lace dresses and accessories

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (17)

After Madonna released her world hit "like a Virgin' on MTV in 1984, lace dresses and gloves became an instant fad in the '80s.

The trend is everywhere, even in movies, and one of the most popular spring style characters was Alexis Carrington in Dynasty, played by Joan Collins.

Harem pants from the 1980s

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (18)

Originally known as the harem skirt, these trousers were introduced to western fashion circles in 1910 by Parisian fashion designer Paul Poiret.

Long, wide harem pants with a very low crotch and tight fitting at the ankle were also known as MC hammer pants.

In psychedelic colors and stunning prints, harem pants are another look that makes 80s fashion unforgettable and unique.

80's style high waist swimsuits

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (19)

Somethe most popular swimsuitsfrom the 80's had a high-waisted swimsuit like the girls in the original Baywatch series used to wear.

The high cut was meant to elongate the legs, while the waist tucked everything into a slimmer silhouette, whether with some weight in the hips or stomach.

Post-Punk-Fashion in the 80s

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (20)

Inspired by the London skinhead culture that drove theFashion in the 60sIn the Storm, the '80s punk version had a softer, more gimmicky look.

The milder variations of 1980s post-punk fashion were influenced by a blend of skinhead culture with other cultures and musical trends, ranging from gothic rock to glam to psychedelic rock.

Acid washed jeans

21 most iconic 80s fashion trends that define 80s style (21)

Aged, acid-washed jeans were popular in the mid-1980s and early 1990s.

Invented by the Rifle Jeans company in Italy, which chlorine washes jeans and uses a pumice stone to abrade the material.

Popular with heavy metal and rock bands, it was paired with acid-wash '80s jeansBiker jackets or French jackets(Cowboy/country style leather jackets with lots of tassels).

(Video) The 80s: A Pop Culture Special

Acid-washed denim was so popular that even non-rock artists like Bros and Salt N' Pepa jumped at it, prompting brands like Jordache, Guess, Wrangler, Levi's and Gitano to create limited-edition and collaboration pieces.

Frequently asked questions about 80's fashion

What types of clothing were popular in the 80's?

The most popular women's clothing of the 80sit was power suits, spats, dresses with padded shoulders and spandex and spandex tights.

For men, leather jackets, polo shirts, oxford shirts and turtlenecks were among the most popular items of clothing in the 80s.

However, both sexes sported linen, corduroy, corduroy suits, high-waisted acid wash jeans, and animal prints.

What should I wear to an 80s party?

The best 80s themed party outfit depends on the style you want to recreate.

There were multiple fashion styles in the 80's but some of the most popular were Power Office, Street Casual, Punk and Athletic, each with their own distinct footwear and accessories.

Some of the most popular accessories from the 80's are:

  • rubber bands;
  • leg warmers;
  • fingerless gloves;
  • plastic bracelets;
  • large earrings in neon tones;
  • mesh accents;
  • and pearl necklaces.

How do you dress in 80's fashion?

Creating the perfect 80's fashion look is easy as long as you combine some of the most representative clothing items from that decade with the 80's style relevant accessories you want to showcase.

For example, if you want to recreate a stylish 80's post-punk look, all you need is a motorcycle-style leather jacket, faded jeans, a high-top logo t-shirt with a famous 80's slogan, and black leather pants. Boots.

Then complete this classic 80s look with relevant punk accessories such as metallic bracelets, studs, studs, laces and chains.

Final words on the fashion of the 80s

The eighties were a decadefashion trendsFor the people'loved to hate', likeyou've seen in our gallery of iconic '80s clothing.

The hair was combed and waved to the extreme, voluminous and sometimes curled; the makeup was bold with clashing colors, almost like makeup.

1980s fashion styles were also about flaunting cash—the wearingTop-Designermarken, preppy style clothing and loud logos to show one's wealth and status.

However, the influence of the 80s not only shaped the culture and fashion of that decade, but also the styles we wear today.

Many of80s fashion is back in 2023, like power clothes, denim overalls and leather jackets.

Television music channels (MTV launched in 1981) and the first generation of personal computers (the first Apple computer appeared in 1984) were major influences on the fashion look of the 1980s.

Music videos particularly influenced '80s fashion and American TV shows like Dynasty and Dallas -- think power suits, shoulder pads and fine jewelry worn by Alexis and Krystle Carrington.

Music videos by Madonna, Joan Jett, and Cher inspired teens to wear leather biker jackets and ripped tights with punk-style bracelets, studs, studs, and chains.

Likewise, the elegant looks of Cyndi Lauper and Tina Turner shaped women's fashion in the 80s with asymmetrical aesthetics, oversized blazers and puffy skirts.

And let's not forget the impact that Jane Fonda and Olivia Newton-John's fitness videos had on teenage girls, who even wore sheer tights and leg warmers everywhere, with everything.

(Video) 80s Music Hits - 80s Best Euro-Disco - 80s Disco Legend - Best Disco Songs of the 80s

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Now it is your turn…

Are you interested in this 80s fashion item as a source of inspiration or are you looking for 80s designers and brands?

Which of these 80's fashion trends is your favorite and why?

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Comments below please!

Ana Escalante

With a Bachelor of Science (BS) with a concentration in Journalism and a concentration in Marketing from the University of Florida, Ana Escalante is an award-winning journalist with compelling reporting in the fields of fashion, beauty, pop culture and the current Editor-in-Chief of Rudi Magazine. Ana's articles on fashion, media and digital culture with a focus on emerging communities have been published in Glamor Magazine, The VOU, Harper's Bazaar, PAPER Magazine, StyleCaster, Teen Vogue, ELLE UK, CR Fashion Book and many others.


What defines 80s fashion? ›

Just think about it: the '80s brought us fishnets and legwarmers, served up electric colorways and the naked dress, made a case for leggings-as-pants, and inserted shoulder pads into any blazer and blouse that designers would allow.

What is a typical 80s outfit? ›

Style Notes: Jane Fonda started it in the 1970s, but by the time the 1980s arrived, spandex leggings, leotards and legwarmers were commonplace, and everyone was a fitness fanatic (for a time, at least). For a more 2022 feel, style with jeans. Wear with a shirt, oversized blazer and mules.

What can I wear to an 80s themed party? ›

Things You Should Know

Thrift for 80s fashion staples like acid-washed jeans, jumpsuits, and denim jackets. Channel the spirit of the 80s with a teased hairstyle, sweatband, and heavy, bright makeup. Add some 80s-inspired accessories to your outfit such as fingerless gloves, big earrings, and layered necklaces.

What was big in the 80s? ›

The 1980s, often remembered for its materialism and consumerism, also saw the rise of the "yuppie," an explosion of blockbuster movies and the emergence of cable networks like MTV, which introduced the music video and launched the careers of many iconic artists, and the emergence of the AIDS crisis, which would go on ...

What colors were popular in the 80s? ›

The '80s were well known for colorful clothing, and nothing is more colorful than neon. Back in the day, the most popular hues were similar to highlighters—bright yellow, orange, green, and pink. Stylish people would wear matching track suits or tops and bottoms in coordinating neon colors.

Who was the biggest fashion icon in the 80s? ›

Madonna. From wearing underwear as outerwear to her trademark lacy gloves, crucifix chains and love of Boy London jeans - Madonna was an undisputed fashion icon. Most 80s clothing worth wearing was worn by this absolute icon.

What design style was popular in the 80s? ›

Tropical & 80s Deco

Often incorporating the same pastels and tropical motifs, 80s Deco was also a popular design trend, often consisting of bright neon colors, drop shadows, clean sans-serif fonts and pronounced angles and curves. And both of these trends are popping up left, right and centre in 2020.

What was pretty in the 80s? ›

Beauty consisted around the fitness and nutrition craze in the 80s, encouraging athletically toned bodies, bodysuits, and tracksuit bottoms. Supermodel and bodybuilding became a sensation, along with leg warmers and big hair.

How did 80s girls dress? ›

Pastel corduroy pants, printed bottoms, delicately designed sweaters, fun and colorful separates made of fleece, pleat front pants with prints, sweaters with statement collars and bright accessories, bold mixed print outfits, oversized tops and high-waisted pants were some examples of girls' clothing worn in this year.

How do you do 80s look? ›

How To Dress Like The 80s With Normal Clothes
  1. Wear bright colors. In the 80s, people were bold and audacious with their fashion choices. ...
  2. Accentuate your shoulders. ...
  3. Put on a bulky sweater. ...
  4. Don't forget a trench coat. ...
  5. Wear high-waisted bottoms. ...
  6. Find off-the-shoulder tops. ...
  7. Rock a mini-skirt. ...
  8. Go with ripped jeans.

What are some 80's themes? ›

Whether you're throwing a 50th birthday bash, a corporate celebration, or a grand summer ball, a nostalgic 80s theme will ensure that everyone is dancing, reminiscing, and wearing their hair big!
Some titles you might include are:
  • Tetris.
  • Pac-Man.
  • Super Mario Bros 3.
  • Elite.
  • Gradius.
  • Gauntlet.
  • Robotron 2084.
  • Kung-fu Master.
Feb 16, 2023

What was trending in the 80s? ›

Fashion accessories such as leg warmers became a popular trend. Leotards in bold colors or more subtle options also stood out. In addition, sneakers were a choice for footwear among the younger generation in lieu of dress shoes for 80's fashion. Women could sport ankle socks worn with casual shoes.

What was the biggest thing in 1980? ›

What happened in 1980 Major News Stories include John Lennon shot and killed in New York, Post-It Notes go on sale, Liberty City, Miami Rioting, MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas Destroyed with Fire, Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act passed.

What are the 80s known for? ›

The "eighties" are also well known for their extreme fashions, such as "big hair", New Wave, punk rock, funk, or preppies. Rap music first started to get big in the 80s, and often went with breakdancing in what is now called the "old school" days.

What eyeshadow colors were popular in the 80s? ›

Eyeshadow was commonly applied lash to brow in pink, blue, and purple and used either as a single color or blended together. For more muted eyeshadows, many opted for bronze or tan shades.

Who was the face of the 80s? ›

Renée Simonsen, the “Face of the '80s,” Talks about Fashion Then and Now, and Turning 50 | Vogue.

What was unique about 80s fashion? ›

The 1980s was possibly the boldest decade in modern fashion history, a magical era of over-the-top silhouettes, teased perms and saturated colors. They were the years of puffed shoulders and power suits, flashy skirts and spandex leggings, velour, leg warmers and voluminous parachute pants.

What were the hottest fashions in the 80s? ›

80s fashion was big on accessories. The trendiest items included scrunchies, leg warmers, fingerless gloves, plastic bangles, large funky earrings in neon shades, mesh accents, fanny packs and pearl necklaces.

What are 80s patterns called? ›

Memphis Design is a 1980s design aesthetic characterized by scattered, brightly colored shapes and lines. It typically combines circles and triangles with black-and-white graphic patterns such as polka dots and squiggly lines.

What is 80s decor called? ›

Neon lights, large patterns with curved edges and curious geometrical furniture configurations─known as Memphis style─were welcome in people's homes in the 1980s.

What was the most popular hairstyle in the 80's? ›

Curly Bangs

One of the most common hairstyles during the '80s was curly bangs. A go-to style for natural and curly-haired people, this hairstyle brings volume front and center (literally), and makes for effortless movement.

How do I style my hair like 80s? ›

Applying an 80s Style

Pull your hair up onto the top or side of your head – the higher, the better! Brush the sides only, leaving as much volume and/or bangs on top as possible. You can add extra teasing and hair product to the front once you've secured your ponytail. Create a side-swept look.

What was popular culture in the 1980s? ›

The suits, shoulder pads and lady ties permeated pop culture as well, showcased in movies such as 9 to 5 (1980) and Working Girl (1988) and TV shows like Dynasty (1981-89) and Moonlighting (1985-89)—all of which featured strong female characters who brought even more popularity to the power dressing trend.

What are the most 80s things? ›

Hop in your Delorean, and take a nostalgic trip back to the things we most miss from the '80s.
  • The Ridiculous '80s Clothes. ...
  • The Arcade. ...
  • Music Television. ...
  • Eight-Bit Video Games. ...
  • The Dance Moves. ...
  • Mixtapes. ...
  • Must-See Sitcoms. ...
  • The Walkman.
Jan 14, 2023

What were some of the 80's fads and trends? ›

There were so many amazing trends and things that came from the 80s. While some of it has gone away and come back, like shoulder pads, Rae Bans sunglasses, home video game systems, others are a thing of the past. This would include Cabbage Patch Kids, Swatches and the Walkman.

What design style is from the 80s? ›

In the 1980's the Memphis Design style dominated everything from fashion to contemporary art and architecture. 1980s home decor featured bright primary colors and geometric shapes, all against a clean white canvas.

What influences 80s fashion? ›

I found that one huge influence of fashion from the 1980s was the inspiration of movies, TV shows, and celebrities. There were numerous individuals like Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, and Madonna, who were trend setters for this generation. Madonna was known as the material girl of the 1980s.

What designs were popular in the 80s? ›

1980s Interior Design Trends
  • Use Pastel Colors. ...
  • Consider Memphis Style. ...
  • Floral Bed Covers. ...
  • Curtains Above the Bed. ...
  • Tropical Prints. ...
  • Heavy Drapes. ...
  • Lace Curtains. ...
  • Lacquer Cabinets.

What was the style in the late 80s? ›

Simple waves, big loops of curls, and styles with frizz were all the rage amongst women. Men went for more eccentric and bold hairstyles like mohawks, mullets, and even clean-shaven heads sparked by the punk movement.

What style of furniture was popular in the 80s? ›

Embrace Chunky Furniture

Deep-seated sofas were popular in the '80s, and we can't still get enough of them. They're not only visually interesting and give your space a soft, homey feel, but they are also super comfortable. Chunky furniture is a lovely contrast to the sleek, modern pieces we're used to.

Who was a fashion icon in the 80s? ›

Madonna. From wearing underwear as outerwear to her trademark lacy gloves, crucifix chains and love of Boy London jeans - Madonna was an undisputed fashion icon. Most 80s clothing worth wearing was worn by this absolute icon.


1. 1980s Forgotten Fads
(Rhetty for History)
2. Top 10 Decade Defining Fashion Trends Of The 1990s
3. I Tried Every Iconic 1980s Look in 48 Hours | Glamour
4. 7 Fashion Trends that will LAST and 7 that WON'T!
(A N N A R E I D)
5. 1980'S hip hop fashion slideshow
(darren retro)
6. Colour Analyst Reacts to 80s Fashion Trends
(Christine Scaman)


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